By Ralph Abraham, U.S. Rep.
WASHINGTON (LBM) – Thousands of Americans across the country will band together in solidarity in the coming days to protest abortion. The pro-life movement is one that I’m proud to support, and one with Central Louisiana roots.
This year’s March for Life events will be the first since the death of pro-life advocate Norma McCorvey, who was born in Simmesport in Avoyelles Parish. You might know her better as Jane Roe, as in the Roe of Roe v. Wade.
Norma wasn’t always on our side. She sued the state of Texas for abortion rights and, unfortunately, the Supreme Court ruled in her favor, granting abortion protections nationwide. But the effects of that decision changed Norma as she eventually came to see what we already know: Abortion violates the sanctity of life and has damaging effects on the women involved in the procedure.
While speaking in Alexandria in 2003, Norma described her experience working in an abortion clinic as “horrible” and said, “I saw the looks in the eyes of those girls. They weren’t the same as when they first came in. There was no life in those eyes. They were angry, but didn’t know why. They were angry with themselves.”
Since the Roe v. Wade ruling, more than 59 million Americans have died from abortions, according to the National Right to Life Committee. This is nothing short of an ongoing national tragedy, a tragedy that we must end.
As a Southern Baptist, I believe that life is a precious gift from God, a gift that begins at conception. As a doctor, I’m sworn to defend life at all stages. As an American, I believe that abortion violates the core tenant of our Constitution that says every American – no matter how old – has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The Bible teaches us that redemption and forgiveness come to those who ask for it. Norma McCorvey found that redemption and spent the later years of her life working to undo her mistake. Her story gives me hope because if the very woman who led the charge for abortion access learned the error of her ways, then surely America can do the same, and I pledge to do my part to see that it happens.
I am an original cosponsor on three important bills aimed at defending life.
The Life at Conception Act (HR 681) states that Constitutional rights extend to all Americans at all phases of life, including the moment of conception. The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (HR 4660) prevents discrimination of the unborn by banning abortions based on the baby’s sex. The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (HR 4712) states that babies who survive abortions must be granted medical care, and medical practitioners who fail to deliver this care will be subject to criminal penalties.
I have also cosponsored the Heartbeat Protection Act (HR 490) that prevents abortion if a baby’s heartbeat can be heard; the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (HR 36) that bans abortion after 20 weeks when babies can feel pain; and the Conscience Protection Act (HR 644) that prohibits medical professionals from being forced to participate in abortions.
We don’t have to accept that abortion will continue in this country.
Know that as you march, I will march with you – both in the streets and in the halls of Congress – to bring the change we need to wipe the stain of abortion from American society.
Ralph Abraham, M.D., has served Louisiana’s 5th District since December 2014 after spending most of his life as a practicing physician, veterinarian, business owner, farmer, pilot and veteran. He and his wife of 40 years, Dianne, have three grown children and nine grandchildren. They grew up in rural Richland Parish where they reside today and are active members of Alto Baptist Church.